Monsanto, our nation’s favorite GMO seed, pesticide and herbicide producer plus GMO seeds impregnated with pesticides but able to resist their own chemicals, and producer of such notable chemical agents like Agent Orange, Roundup, and glyphosphate from their pesticides ….. has come up with a new chemicallly-resistant soybean seed called Xtend which resists their herbicide Dicamba. Dicamba kills weeds that grow in soybean fields. Xtend happens to be the potentially largest biotech seed launch ever. The Xtend soybeans are designed to resist the toxic effects of their Dicamba weedkiller spray.
If you haven’t fallen asleep at this point, and you care about what you eat … lets continue.
Dicamba has several problems:
- It can damage or even kill crops that have not been genetically engineered to resist it.
- It can vaporize and the wind can blow it onto other nearby plants and crops.
- Its 4550 word label explaining how to apply it is confusing farmers and may be impossible to follow with directions such as: only apply when winds are >3 mph but less than 15 mph; spray no more than 24″ above the crops; when the air temp. is over 91F, adjust the spray nozzles to produce larger droplets; spraying equipment must be rinsed 3 times after each use and is quite difficult to perform properly etc etc.
- The State of Arkansas has already banned it.
- Chemical companies BASF and Dupont are already distributing Dicamba under different brand names: Banvel, Diablo, Oracle and Vanquish.
According to Reuters, Monsanto’s net sales increased 1 percent to $4.2 billion in the quarter ended on May 31 from a year ago, partly due to higher U.S. sales of Xtend soybeans. Since January, the company has increased its estimate for 2017 U.S. plantings to 20 million acres from 15 million. According to the Farmland Information Center there are as of 2012 914 million acres of farmland in the U.S. So that is an alarming number of acres that might be planted by Monsanto GMO soybeans. There is no estimate on how much of the surrounding neighboring acreage that might be affected by contamination from this GMO crop or from the Monsanto pesticides or weedkillers sprayed on their resistant seeds.
Keep in mind that these are just statistics related to Monsanto. Just as an FYI, according to SourceWatch the top 10 companies in the international sales of pesticides by market share are:
Bayer (Germany) 17%
Syngenta (Switzerland) 18%
BASF (Germany) 9%
Dow (USA) 9%
Monsanto (USA) 10%
Dupont (SA) 5%
Makhteshim Agan (Israel) 4%
NuFarm (Australia) 4%
Sumitomo (Japan) 4%
Arysta Lifescience (Japan) 2%
To keep this in perspective, Reuters reported that Monsanto’s latest quarterly profit as of June 28, 2017 surged to $843 million from $717 million a year ago. Monsanto’s Xtend soybean seeds were planted on 20 million acres, exceeding their forecast for 18 million acres. Sales of soybean seeds is Monsanto’s second biggest source of revenues. Their sales of Corn Seeds and “traits” (aka GMOs) is their largest source of revenue. Monsanto’s sales have been declining since 2014. They were losing between $200 million and $500 million dollars per quarter (2015 and 2016 data), which may be part of the reason that they are in the middle of a $66 billion buyout deal by Bayer. Or maybe it will be soybeans and Dicamba to the rescue
I hope that you find this as disturbing as we do. To relieve some stress, we go diving. The photo below was taken off of a sandy bottom in shallow water with a strong current. That is the reason for the cloudiness in the water. The sand is being picked up off the bottom. The larger fish on the left is a nurse shark. The are easily identified by their twin dorsal fins (the fins along their back in front of their elongated tail). These are harmless sharks which tend to follow divers, behaving like little puppy dogs begging for food, except when they are provoked.